Chris Hayes to AZ immigration law architect: convince me this isn’t about racism

By Jonathan Terbush
Sunday, July 1, 2012 15:53 EDT
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On “Up With Chris Hayes” Sunday, the show’s titular host challenged one of the architects of Arizona’s tough immigration law to convince him and his viewers that the law is not, as critics contend, steeped in racism.

“You need to convince me and convince folks on the other side that this is not motivated by racial animus,” Hayes told Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who, as an immigration reform lawyer, helped draft Arizona’s controversial measure.

Kobach defended the law, and took personal umbrage with it being characterized as a racially-motivated policy.

“It oversimplifies things, and I think it is an ad hominem attack when you say to someone who’s making a reasonable argument, ‘Oh, you must be all about race,’” Kobach said.

Specifically, Kobach said the law’s “reasonable suspicion provision”—which allows law enforcement officers to stop and check the citizenship of anyone they suspect of being an illegal immigrant—has been defended by courts time and again.

“There are more than 800 federal court opinions defining factors that have nothing to do with race than can give rise to reasonable suspicion,” he said.

The Supreme Court last week struck down much of Arizona’s immigration law, but allowed the reasonable suspicion provision to stand.

Watch the video below:

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Jonathan Terbush
Jonathan Terbush
Jon Terbush is a Boston-based writer whose work has appeared in Talking Points Memo, Business Insider, the New Haven Register, and elsewhere. He tweets about politics, cats, and baseball via @jonterbush.
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